A question for the struggle

together under the umbrella.jpg

Whom does God love more
The mistaken, but earnest, heretic
Or the proudly intolerant orthodox?
Answer: both.
God loves us both, infinitely.

That is the place we must start.
That is the place I must start.
In God’s love.
In love with God.
In love (with God’s love) with you.

We may build walls with rules
Or circle our wagons in self-protection
But the rain falls on us all:
The just and the unjust,
The correct and the befuddled.

So, we must find a way
To live our best lives
In a world that contains us both.
Try as I might, I will not change you,
Nor you change me, with arguments.

Yet, I know I will change with time.
I know because I have changed, already, many times.
You will change too.
And when we lean into love,
The change is for the better.

The father waits for the prodigal,
Even if the big brother does not.
Even if the big brother was secretly glad the prodigal left.
Even if the big brother left the father, too
And just didn’t know it.

And the father wants us to party together,
When the prodigal makes it home,
When the big brother hears the music,
And wonders why it is not for him.
It is, really, for neither, alone.

The party is for reunion.

I have faith, I have hope, that love will win.
I just wish it would happen sooner rather than later.
I dare to think that is God’s hope, too.
That we would both come to ourselves
And come to the party.

Soon.

[Image modified from photo by Markus Goller per cc 2.0]

grace embodied

women in prayerWhen we think of you,
We remember how your faith unfolds into works of love;
How you persevere in hope, even when times are tough.

Your hope gives us hope;
Your joy brings us joy
Your faith inspires faith;
Your life shines life into our lives.

No wonder we give thanks to the Holy One
Whenever we remember you.
You embody the Spirit of grace
Who makes us one within the One.

No one can say, ‘Look! I made the candle burn.’
Instead what burns in you lights up another
And it goes on and on.

[a meditation on 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3]
[photo by Gregory Gill per cc 2.0]

unnecessary crucifixion

crucifixion

Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity – it did not need changing! Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.- Richard Rohr

Perhaps …
Could this be true?

The crucifixion was unnecessary.

God did not require it – we did.

It was not God who demanded sacrifice as the gateway to reconciliation.
God’s power to love and forgive was never held hostage to some cruel death.
Love has always been more powerful than sin.

We are the ones who required blood-sacrifice.
We believed so deeply that the price of sin was death
That we would not accept God’s love and reconciliation without it.

So, Christ, who came for reconciliation,
Who came to show us love,
Met our conditions.

God’s desire for relationship was so deep
That God yielded to our obstinate delusions
To prove in ways that only we demanded
The awesome, terrible depth of love.

God does not love us more – or less – because of the crucifixion.
But we can now accept forgiveness
And find a way to receive and return that love.

That is God’s desire – that we would love in return.

God will do whatever it takes to help us find the way to love.

[image cropped from a photo by Steve Snodgrass per cc 2.0]

image and likeness

likeness

Let us make humans in our image; according to our likeness – Genesis 1:26

Richard Rohr offers a nugget of understanding:
The image is Christ in me;
The likeness is how I live it out.

I like that – that I can somehow be like.
Then, I might actually like myself.
Like, wow.

[photo Thomas Rousing by per cc 2.0]

A L on liberty

Abraham Lincoln

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name — liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names — liberty and tyranny.

— Abraham Lincoln

The tyranny of self, of course, leads to the tyranny of others.
When self rules – at least the self that wants it all –
There is no freedom.

Once again the mystery –
Giving is receiving.
An open hand liberates.

[photo by Thomas Hawk per cc 2.0]

Pausing for Joy

joy
This
This is the way forward:
For just a moment to release my fears
And to turn in grateful joy to notice the kindness around me
And to smile and give thanks for its presence
To point it out to others
And to laugh together in the sheer delight of such beauty.

Help me salt my days with the recognition of these simple gifts:
A sip of cool water or warm coffee,
Someone opening the door for me,
A kind word,
A silly joke,
A true hug.

You are still here among us.
You have not given up.
Nor will I.

Amen.

[photo by Riccardo Francesconi per cc 2.0]

persistent patterns

young girl yelling the final line of a poem

Quiet, quiet, quiet
Quiet as a mouse
I am the quietest
One in the house!

Our old patterns sneak back into our lives with unyielding persistence. We can’t keep them quiet. We don’t even see them coming till they are shrieking in our ears and we find ourselves back in the same old conundrums.

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